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Photo by: Courtesy Hadassah Medical Organization
Web journal presents Israeli health policy to world
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
19/04/2012
New open-access online journal seeks to promote intellectual interactions between scholars in Israel and abroad.
 
It isn’t often that a free, completely online English-language Israeli medical journal is launched for the interested public around the world. Since the beginning of February, a senior physician at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Faculty and a health researcher at the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute have been in charge of the Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (www.ijhpr.org).

The Web-based-only journal is funded by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research, which is financed by the Israel Health Council. The articles’ peer reviewers as well as the co-editors work on a voluntary, unpaid basis because they believe it is important to get issues discussed both within the country and overseas.

“The journal seeks to promote intensive intellectual interactions between scholars in Israel and abroad regarding current issues in Israeli healthcare, as well as recent developments around the world that are relevant to Israel," the co-editors told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“It will deal with all aspects of health policy, health services research, public health, health promotion, health economics, healthcare management and the ethics, sociology, and political science of healthcare in Israel. The ultimate aim of these intellectual interactions is to contribute to the development of health policy in Israel and around the world.”

The IJHPR publishes an average of two major articles monthly, each of them accompanied by a commentary by a leading figure in the field that highlights the article’s international significance.

The April issue released on Wednesday compares the use of donated ova in Israel (which is very liberal) and Austria (which is very strict); and the economic effects of interventions to reduce obesity in Israel.

The journal is being published by Biomed Central, the leading publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, which now issues some 230 such titles on the Internet. It is thus the first Israeli journal to be produced in cooperation with the British-based organization.

Yisraeli, who is head of the medical faculty’s department of health policy, healthcare management and health economics, a former Health Ministry director-general and currently the ministry’s chief scientist, said the readership is divided equally between Israelis and foreigners (including some from Lebanon and Egypt).

The initiative came from Rosen, who has been discussing and planning the journal with Yisraeli for more than two years. A leading printed and online medical journal is IMAJ (Israel Medical Association Journal) started more than 10 years ago, but it deals with clinical medicine and not health policy.

“We can already see there is a need for it,” the co-editors said of the new publication. “We expect to have a high impact factor and be cited by other journals. While most of the authors will be Israeli and most of the commentary from abroad, we want both audiences and to influence health policy as well as increase exposure abroad to Israeli health policy issues.” The journal is likely to encourage partnerships between Israelis and foreigners in the field, added Rosen.

The editors said that when online, journal articles can reach the readership quickly after undergoing editing and peer review. But they do not think print medical and health journals will disappear in the foreseeable future.
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